Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nokia N97 Review

And how Nokia lost the PC/Internet integration plot…

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I got hold of my new Nokia N97 yesterday. The telco, Starhub delivered it at home (though I have put in a Singtel SIM card!). I was eagerly looking forward to getting this phone.

Closely following the latest mobile trends, I believe there are three distinct technologies fighting a big battle for the dominance of mobile world – iPhone with it coolness and infinite number of third party applications, Android Phones (like HTC magic) with its open architecture and user extendibility and Nokia (and few other players) with the updated Symbian OS and its stability.

I always loved my Nokia phones – my first one was a Nokia 6110 - probably the best phone ever (may not be a smart phone, but it was a great phone). Except once when I tried a HP Windows mobile, all the other phones I always used was a Nokia model. Every one of them was better than the previous one.

Then came the period where the Nokia phones started talking with PC’s and Internet for the firs time. Nokia started loosing it. Every time I tried using Nokia software on a PC it misbehaved. The Nokia Ovi website is too slow and many times down – so are the other websites like, which I use to track my walks. The great phone was not able to work with PC/Internet properly. The Nokia application on my Vista PC started hanging frequently.

The height of the problem was when I found out that Nokia has started quietly uploading the music I am playing while walking to its website. No way to switch it off – and my emails to Nokia went unanswered! Some much for privacy!

I also have different names and passwords to remember – one for website one for my Nokia music website and … can’t remember!

I still stuck with Nokia and applied for the latest N97 phone. After all it has a better display, for me to see my maps better, and even a digital compass a saving grace for someone like me who is directionally challenged.

And today when I got my N97, the first thing I want to add to the phone is the Sports tracker tool – oops – Nokia Sports Tracker does not support N97 (or vice versa). Yes, Sports Tracker is beta, but when I upgrade my phone, I am expecting an “upgrade” and not a “downgrade”. There goes the plan to use the new phones to track my walks.

On installation, Noki Ovi Store does not install properly as download failed. However the rest of the components did install correctly. I had to reboot the machine and try again to make it Ovi store work (and it did). Even from the phone Ovi store worked just 2 out of 4 times I tried.

Having said all that, leaving aside Internet/PC integration, the Nokia N97 is a wonderful phone. Looks cool, very customizable (it also comes with a lot of re-learning on how to use a Nokia phone). A 5 mega pixel camera with a lens protector, 32MB memory, slide out keyboard, lots of pre-installed applications including Facebook and Straits Times. Well, if you want technical review, there are hundreds of reviews already online.

The biggest plus for me is that the phone “Comes with Music”. Millions of songs waiting to be (legally) downloaded – that itself is worth the price of the new phone! I have already downloaded hundreds of songs. The collection is amazing – equally amazing is the fact that all the songs downloaded, can be kept even after the free subscription (for one year) is over. I just can’t believe it. And yes, the music plays in one PC also.

And of course the new phone comes with a new power connector tip, ensuring that all the old Nokia power cables are all obsolete! When is this going to end?

In summary - a wonderful phone with a lousy PC/internet integration…

Just one thing, I haven’t made a call with the phone yet. Let me try to find out how to make a call….

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harimohan said...

well did you make the call finally ,look where we are going to !
i bought an imate in UAE in discount but i miss my nokia N73 with its xlnt camera ( most of my blog pics )
i was able to acess wifi and net first week but later it just stopped ,the expert told me some application was stopped and he will send by sms ,
for a non expert like me that is Greek
can u help me get back my surfing ?

Manoj Sugathan said...

I did! It is a decent phone. But too many issues with the "smart" part of the "smart phone".